Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.10.11
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to email@example.com
1. The Michigan Daily - University Housing to consider gender-neutral housing option
2. The Boston Globe - Awaiting the gay studies revolution
3. The Daily Reflector - ECU educators contribute to adoption study
4. The Daily Texan Online - Viewpoint: A royal blunder
5. Los Angeles Times - USC's Archives Bazaar resurrects L.A.'s history
6. The Current Online (UM-St.Louis) - Campus queer-straight relations flourish under PRIZM
7. The Temple News Online - Inquiring LGBTQ
8. Arizona Daily Wildcat - Lutherans split over gay clergy
9. Daily 49er (California State University-Long Beach) - Experiences for LGBT faculty, staff vary in state
10. The Salt Lake Tribune - U. of U. forum: Gay service members say 'Don't Ask' asks too much
11. Seattle University Spectator - Referendum 71 needs Seattle U support
12. The Hoya (Georgetown) - LGBTQ Group Seeks Recognition at Catholic University of America
13. The Concordian - SAGA is going to fight for its right to advertise
14. The Smith College Sophian - Transgender coeducation: Smith is more than just a women's college
15. The Daily Athenaeum - Student group preps for Gay Pride Week
16. StateCollege.com - National Coming Out Week underway at Penn State
17. The Hawk (St. Joseph’s University) - GLBT issues ignored too often at St. Joe's
18. The Good 5 Cent Cigar (URI) - URI Theatre honors memory of gay student
1. The Michigan Daily, September 30, 2009
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
University Housing to consider gender-neutral housing option
By Veronica Menaldi
The University prides itself on its diverse student and faculty bodies, championing what officials consider a friendly and open environment for those of all backgrounds. But when students apply for housing before freshman year, there is no box for gender preference.
The housing application asks incoming freshman if they want to live in a substance-free room, whether they want a single, double or triple room and where they prefer to live on campus. But there is no option for transgender students looking for gender-neutral housing.
That may soon change.
The University is considering a proposal that was initially pitched by the Spectrum Center Student Advisory Board to create a gender-neutral housing option geared toward transgender students.
The proposal has not been significantly acted upon since it was first introduced last April, but is picking up new momentum with help from the campus undergraduate chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
ACLU board member Ellen Steele, an LSA sophomore, wrote in an e-mail interview that the group made the proposal in an effort to make University residence halls more inclusive.
“Our ultimate goal would be to make gender-neutral housing available to all students in all dorms,” Steele wrote. “Students of different genders can already live in the same hall. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to live in the same room.”
And it appears that many universities across the country would agree.
According to the website genderblind.org, there are currently 36 colleges and universities with gender-neutral housing options, including several schools the University considers to be its peer institutions like Brown University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Stanford University.
University Housing Spokesman Peter Logan said he is aware that other universities offer a gender-neutral option, and that he has been in contact with officials at those schools to explore the option.
“We’re watching those schools and are in touch with them so we can see what their experiences and successes have been,” he said.
Logan said gender-neutral housing is currently available to students on an individual basis. But those students must approach the University on their own to be considered for the option.
Students must work with a staff liaison to get an accommodation that best fits their needs, but according to the University Housing website, there is no guarantee students interested in the option will receive it.
The website also states that students are assigned rooms according to their birth gender, regardless of how they identify themselves. The University will not consider accommodations for people unless they have undergone sex reassignment surgery.
Steele said the ACLU has concerns about the current housing policy, especially because, she said, it is very uncommon for college students who identify as transgender to have already undergone sex reassignment surgery. Steele said that only having the gender-neutral option for post-op students is extremely restrictive.
“This part of the policy supports the idea that a person’s body must look a certain way in order for them to be treated as the gender with which they identify,” she wrote in the e-mail.
Steele said the current housing policy is biased in its gender assumptions.
“It assumes two roommates cannot be in a relationship if they are the same gender,” she said. “It assumes women and men cannot be just friends or roommates.
“It demands that women are fundamentally different from men, and they should be segregated,” she continued.
“I, and many other students, believe that the dorms should not be divided along the traditional gender binary.”
Jackie Simpson, director of the Spectrum Center, said the idea of gender-neutral housing is still in its preliminary stages and that students at the University have been pushing for gender-neutral housing for several years.
While she is hopeful, Simpson said she doesn’t know when, or even if, the proposal will be implemented at the University.
Steele said ACLU group members understand their proposal will probably not be enacted immediately, but that she hopes the University will soon take steps to implement the change in policy.
“I live in the dorms, and I believe our community could benefit from gender-neutral housing and would be strongly supportive of a change to housing policy,” she said.
Simpson said that with student interest for the option, the Spectrum Center is planning to focus more intently on bringing the option to campus.
“It would be important for us to have a conversation and a dialogue about (gender-neutral housing) campus-wide, given that students are interested in the University looking into this,” she said.
Logan said University Housing officials first need to see if the larger student population is interested in the option, but added that officials are giving it a “serious look.”
2. The Boston Globe, October 5, 2009
135 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125
Awaiting the gay studies revolution
By David LaFontaine
MASSACHUSETTS HAS a history of national leadership in the area of gay rights, but when it comes to the state’s public higher education system there has been virtual silence about including gay and lesbian studies in the curriculum. The creation of gay studies programs within the state’s 29 state and community colleges is long overdue.
The cultural revolution in attitudes toward homosexuality, generated in part by the explosion of gay characters on television and in films, has had a profound effect on today’s youth. What was once a hidden population on college campuses is now a visible and numerous presence. College curriculum, however, has failed to keep pace with the changed cultural landscape and with the needs of its gay population.
In June, Harvard University announced the establishment and funding of an endowed chair in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies, in a move that has been hailed as setting a trend for the nation. Harvard’s gay studies program should be seen as a model for Massachusetts’ state colleges. The launching of such a program can be accomplished by executive action on the part of Governor Deval Patrick in conjunction with support from the Legislature.
Professors and their departments will need to lead the way in creating an inclusive college classroom in which the contributions of gay people are validated and studied. Subjects such as literature, history, and sociology are logical academic areas in which to incorporate gay topics. Literature courses will be enriched by studying gay themes in the work of authors such as William Shakespeare, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and Herman Melville. In addition to reinterpreting the classics, contemporary literature such as Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain’’ and Michael Cunningham’s “The Hours’’ merit inclusion within college classrooms.
History courses will also benefit from substantial revision of the curriculum. History books have been rewritten in recent years to reflect research in women’s studies and African-American studies, but textbooks rarely acknowledge the lives of homosexuals before the modern era.
The result of this silence is the failure to chronicle the social persecution of homosexuals in many cultural settings throughout the ages. An example of a neglected topic in history is the incarceration of 40,000 homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps.
The creation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender studies programs in Massachusetts’ state colleges would validate the contributions of a minority group still struggling for full recognition and equality. Academic excellence would be served by diversification of the curriculum, and the milestones Massachusetts has achieved in gay civil rights would be translated directly to the new generation of college students.
David LaFontaine is a professor in the English department at Massasoit Community College. He served as chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth from 1992 to 2000.
3. The Daily Reflector, October 4, 2009
P.O. Box 1967, Greenville, NC 27834-1967
ECU educators contribute to adoption study
By Josh Humphries
The sexual orientation of adoptive parents does not play a significant role in the well being of their children, a new study contends.
The study, recently published in Adoption Quarterly, was written by Paige Averett and Blace Nalavany, assistant professors of social work at East Carolina University, and Scott Ryan, dean of the University of Texas School of Social Work. It compares the extent of emotional and behavioral problems of adopted children in the context of the sexual orientation of their adoptive parents.
While income and a history of abuse may affect a child’s behavior and welfare, the parents’ sexual orientation plays no part in the happiness of the child, according to the research.
“Sexual orientation did not matter,” Averett said. “Both sets of parents face a lot of the same struggles. If a child has a history of abuse, it makes the child’s behavior difficult regardless. Income factors into behavior and well-being but sexual orientation does not.”
The research was based on survey results from parents who adopted children through Florida’s public child welfare system and data from gay and lesbian couples throughout the United States. It included 155 gay and lesbian couples and 1,229 heterosexual couples.
The couples responded to questions about parent and child characteristics, family composition and dynamics, the child’s pre-adoptive history and current emotional and behavioral functioning.
“We found that there were behavioral and emotional outcomes for children who have a history of abuse,” Averett said. “Age and pre-adoptive sexual abuse were predictors of emotional problems. We also found that an increase in annual income, family functioning and parental satisfaction with adoption preparation services was predictive of significantly less emotional problems.”
As of 2007, there were approximately 130,000 children in the child welfare system waiting to be adopted.
“There are implications for social work educators, adoption professionals and policymakers in this and other recent studies,” Averett said. “We must pay attention to the data indicating that gay and lesbian parents are as fit as heterosexual parents to adopt because at least 130,000 children are depending on us to act as informed advocates on their behalf.”
Florida has the only adoption system in the country that asks potential adopting couples whether they’re gay. But gay and lesbian couples can be foster parents there.
This anomaly and a need to find homes for 130,000 children prompted the researchers to investigate the issue, Averett said. She said myths about gay couples also prompted the study.
Gay and lesbian couples have shown more willingness to adopt hard-to-place children who are often older and suffer from an abusive past, the researchers claim.
“We were looking to see if what people say and think is true,” she said. “There is no science behind the laws that keep gays and lesbians from adopting. We wanted to see what research would show so we did the comparison.”
North Carolina does not have a specific law that keeps gay couples from adopting, but the decision is often left up to individuals in the adoption field.
“If they have their own personal bias — that can be a problem,” Averett said.
She said it is easier for singles to adopt in North Carolina because it doesn’t raise questions that would be raised by a joint adoption request.
Pervading myths include the idea that gay couples will raise their children to be gay, but it is not backed by science, Averett said.
“Among gay and lesbian parents there are lower rates of homosexuality than there is among heterosexual parents,” she said. “Hopefully this study will kick off more similar studies to bring the truth to light.”
The study has gained a lot of attention due to its controversial nature, Averett said. The researchers have been contacted by international universities and press agencies.
“It has gotten a lot of reaction,” she said. “There are people who want to use it legally and the gay and lesbian community is very excited.”
Contact Josh Humphries at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 329-9565.
4. The Daily Texan Online, October 6, 2009
P.O. Box D, Austin, TX 78713
Viewpoint: A royal blunder
By David Muto
In a display of weakness, the University of North Texas’ student government voted last week against a proposal that would have amended the association’s bylaws to permit same-sex couples to run for homecoming king and queen.
The bill, introduced by student senator Christopher Passafiume, incited parents and alumni to threaten to withdraw students and financial support from the university. Ten student senators ultimately voted against the proposal, five voted for it and eight abstained, according to the North Texas Daily.
“I felt as if we would lose too much alumni,” said student senator Jason Howeth, who voted against the bill, to the Daily, which suggests that the association likely — and embarrassingly — caved to the gay-panic parental concerns that Texas middle and high schools would be more accustomed to fielding. The assembly had the opportunity to make a relatively harmless statement in support of inclusion but instead likely heeded pressure from worried university administrators. The eight abstainers, who cowardly ducked out and missed a chance to send a message to the public as well as to the administration, are of particular concern.
While the importance of an issue centering on university homecoming sashes shouldn’t be inflated, this vote speaks to a broader concern for the state of gay rights at public universities in Texas. A strong gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has thrived over the years at UT, and UNT has surely seen the emergence of a similar presence, albeit in less-liberal Denton. But these same forces — those that have helped lead the fight in red Texas for visibility and have familiarized anyone who has entered college in the last 10 years with the now-prolific “GLBT” and its variants — are fighting a seemingly stagnant battle for the extension of benefits to domestic partners of Texas public institution employees.
The effort gained momentum at UT in the spring, with conferences and rallies drawing heavy support. UT President William Powers and administration expressed public support for the extension of benefits, charging that the current policy puts the University at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting faculty. But the University is hamstrung, they say, by the Texas Constitution, which voters amended in 2005 to prohibit the establishment of legal arrangements for gay couples — leaving the issue in the hands of the state Legislature.
In an interview with the Daily Texan editorial board, Powers said the University “will continue discussions with the Legislature” on what he called a “human issue.”
We hope the University is not only discussing but also working to devise a strong approach to push for smart action in a Republican Legislature likely to stay Republican for the foreseeable future. As the issue is particularly relevant in light of budget cuts at UT set to prioritize recruitment of top faculty, we stress that the time for action — in the academic interests of the University, at least — is now.
As for the human side of the issue, the culture of equality in Texas, in part, hinges on universities’ dealings with GLBT issues — whether they be on the homecoming court or in faculty contracts.
Maybe a sash is a big deal after all.
5. Los Angeles Times, October 6, 2009
202 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, California, 90012
USC's Archives Bazaar resurrects L.A.'s history
By Hector Tobar
They gathered outside a nightclub called the Black Cat one winter night in 1967, perhaps a few hundred men and women in all, joined together in a moment of happy subversion on a Silver Lake street. Weeks earlier, police had swept through the club and arrested 14 people after witnessing, at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, the "crime" of one man kissing another.
It's unlikely any of the protesters had been to an organized gay-rights demonstration -- the movement in Los Angeles was then in its infancy. Someone brought a camera and snapped a few pictures. Finally the demonstrators dispersed. They put away or threw away the signs they had made.
There are precious few known artifacts remaining from the Black Cat protest, an event that preceded by more than two years the famous Stonewall "riots" in New York. People who make history are often unaware they are doing so. They don't always preserve the objects and documents that could make those momentous events come alive for future generations.
That's where a small but dedicated band of Los Angeles archivists comes in. They rescue the things that make up our collective history: a Remington typewriter owned by the Depression-era pioneer of Spanish-language radio, posters and sheet music from the jazz glory days of Central Avenue, the photographs taken outside the Black Cat on the night of Feb. 11, 1967.
On Oct. 17, the people who collect and catalog these artifacts of modern Los Angeles will gather for a kind of open house, the fourth annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar at USC's Davidson Conference Center.
"It's a first attempt at building history," Chon Noriega told me, describing his work as director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, one of the 70 institutions contributing exhibits to the Archives Bazaar. "Three hundred years from now when somebody comes to this university and wants to write about what happened in Los Angeles, there will be something for them to see."
Los Angeles is among the youngest of the world's great cities. Rome has a couple of millenniums of history; New York, four centuries. As late as 1880, Los Angeles was still a little country burg of 11,000 people. In a dozen decades it became a diverse metropolis, home to utopian dreamers and ambitious capitalists, to groundbreaking artists and refugees from poverty and discrimination.
Our city might look beat up and tired these days. But we still enjoy many of the fruits of the glorious, good fights of the 20th century, when L.A. became a cosmopolitan crossroads with an ample middle class. In the last decades of that century, people lived more freely here than almost anywhere else.
The raw material of that remarkable narrative is gathered in places such as the Culver City Historical Society, the Autry National Center for the American West, the Chinese American Museum and the Mayme Clayton Library and Museum, an archive built by a local librarian with a passion for black history.
All those institutions will be represented at the Archives Bazaar.
I'm writing these words today as a kind of thank-you note to the professionals and amateurs who've built those archives. Over the years, I've spent many hours perusing their collections. I've learned that there's a certain power and knowledge that comes from spending time with history in its rawest, most unprocessed form.
Michael Palmer of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives knows that power too. A few years back, he found the photographs of the Black Cat protest in a box of materials donated to the archives. He doesn't even know who shot the images. For historians of gay culture in Los Angeles, it was like finding a Holy Grail. And it left Palmer and fellow archivist Loni Shibuyama hungry for more.
So if you know someone who was at the protest and might have materials related to the police raid that New Year's Eve and the demonstrations that followed (an arrest report, maybe, or some personal correspondence), please give the ONE archives a call.
"Basically, we'd get them in a room and beg and plead until they gave us the originals," Palmer said. In exchange, the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives would offer the closest thing on Earth to immortality. They would promise to protect those precious documents and objects so that they could live on for centuries.
Noriega at UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center can also promise the controlled humidity and temperature and careful handling of a professional archive. The center's collections are stored, along with many others, in a vast facility underneath the UCLA campus. "They're safe," Noriega said of the materials. And they're all available to researchers.
Noriega spends a lot of time thinking about how the present will look to the future. "You ask yourself, 'What is going to be useful to historians trying to reconstruct this period?' "
The 20th century saw a boom in Latino arts in L.A., so Noriega has reached out to artists like Judy Baca, who has donated papers, along with the painter and performance artist Gronk. "He gave us all of his papers, notebooks, diaries, sketchbooks, even napkins he's drawn on," Noriega said.
I thought I knew a lot about the history of Latino Los Angeles. But I'd never heard about two other men who donated their papers and mementos to the UCLA center.
Pedro Gonzalez was a one-time soldier in Pancho Villa's army who later migrated to California, where he started the first Spanish-language radio program in Los Angeles. In the 1930s, he broadcast denunciations of the immigration raids on Latino neighborhoods, and he was later arrested and deported. His typewriter survived his years of exile and is now in the center's possession.
Dionicio Morales organized protests against segregation
in Southern California theaters. His struggle began the night in 1940 when he was told to sit in "the Mexican section" of a Moorpark movie house during the opening night of "Gone With the Wind." He refused.
"I was hustled out of the theater and my 25 cents was refunded," Morales wrote. Later he organized a successful campaign to force an end to the practice of segregating seating.
Of course, the histories of protest, art and ambition are still being written in Los Angeles. People are marching, imagining and striving here as much as ever.
If you're one of them, you might want to think twice before throwing out those old letters and pamphlets -- and consider instead putting the items in safe hands. In the distant future, a lover of early 21st century Los Angeles history may thank you for it.
6. The Current Online (UM-St. Louis), October 5, 2009
Campus queer-straight relations flourish under PRIZM
By Byran Craycraft
PRIZM, a student group at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, has a tiny office inside Student Life headquarters at the Millennium Student Center.
The office is a colorful place where the group has hung several rainbow flags representing various elements of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. A few members of PRIZM's executive board gathered there recently to discuss the group and its activities.
PRIZM identifies itself as a "queer-straight student alliance." Some people might wonder why they use the word "queer," which has long been a derogatory term for GLBT people.
Jonathan Kirner, senior, psychology and criminology, is the president of PRIZM. He thinks that the word "queer" is inclusive, and simplifies things, seeing that the alphabet soup has in some places grown into GLBTTQQI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning and intersex).
"If we were the gay-straight alliance, then that kind of takes out bisexuals and transgenders and anything of the rest of the alphabet that ends up being attached," Kirner said, "but queer is an all-encompassing word."
Adie Bennett, senior, liberal studies, represents PRIZM in the Student Government Association. She is definitely onboard with the group's identity.
"When I first started here, I actually didn't join PRIZM because all I saw was GLBT … [when] I heard more about 'queer-straight alliance,' I felt like it was more accepting," Bennett said.
Part of the group's mission is to gain GLBT equality. Bennet told a story indicating that members of the group still face challenges on campus because of their sexual orientation.
"On Friday, I was in a quiet study lounge and I found [some] Chick tracts, the Christian propaganda publications that are usually very negative, and I found two about homosexuality," Bennet said.
"The first one was comparing [the GLBT community] to Nazis."
Chick tracts are a sort of comic book, and Bennet related how the one she found presented an illustrated story about gays at a pride parade committing hate crimes against a person who was preaching Christian values.
"So, yeah, I would definitely say there are still GLBT issues on campus. We're the forgotten problem, I would say."
However, PRIZM is not looking for trouble with organized religion. Kathleen Butterly Nigro, Assistant Teaching Professor, has been PRIZM's faculty advisor for six years-she is also Assistant Director at the Institute for Women's and Gender Studies. Nigro wants to avoid stereotypes on all sides of GLBT issues.
"I think it's important to say that there [are] a lot of religious people who are not discriminatory. I think that homophobia crosses boundaries," Nigro said.
Fighting discrimination is not the only thing on PRIZM's dance card. The group sponsors numerous activities, one of which is their sixth annual Drag Show, coming up on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Century Rooms of the MSC. PRIZM encourages all students to attend, but the event does carry a "mature content" warning.
Justin Riddler, graduate student, higher education and administration, is in charge of community liaison for PRIZM. He spoke of the objectives for the group's activities.
"We're here more than just a student organization that does activities on campus," Riddler said.
"We do educational events, we do events that make you look at life and think a little bit differently."
Knowing that a drag show may be unsettling to some, Riddler nonetheless wants PRIZM to be a positive influence on the campus community.
"It's a culture shock for some people when they come and attend that drag show.
It's our responsibility as a student organization to help that culture shock be less traumatizing and more of an inspirational learning experience."
7. The Temple News Online, October 5, 2009
1755 N. 13th St., Room 243, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Regardless of a person’s views, anti-gay slurs are unacceptable.
On a student’s dormitory door at Guilford College, someone left a note that read, “nobody wants your kind on campus.” Three nights later on the Greensboro, N.C., campus, the same student received another note.
“You don’t deserve life like the rest of the world,” it said. “It’s bad enough with out all the gay crap pulling people down. It’s sick unnatural, and death is almost too good for you. Almost.”
Nearly 400 students attended a nighttime vigil hosted by the Guilford Pride and the Guilford Peace Society to voice their protest.
Thankfully, no such anti-gay hate crime has been reported on Temple’s Main Campus, and The Temple News would like to commend the student body for this. The LGBTQ community at Temple is just that, a community of students. No student deserves the torment the Guilford College student endured.
And as hard as The Temple News tries to keep its eyes open and ears alert, we do not know everything that happens within the confines of dorms, off-campus housing or in side conversations in public on Main Campus. No such incident has been reported, but anti-gay slurs, which open up pathways to more hateful and damaging crimes, are not uncommon.
In March 2007, a gay college student named Ryan Skipper was stabbed to death 20 times. The Tampa Bay Times reported “one of the two accused killers told witnesses he was ‘doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more f——.’”
For anyone to think occurrences like the death of Ryan Skipper and the notes written to the Guilford College student are justifiable is wrong. If students overhear negative conversations regarding the LGBTQ community or witness hate crimes, it is imperative they encourage others to cease.
Students with questions regarding the LGBTQ community are encouraged to attend “Speak” in the Owl Cove of Mitten Hall Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. The session, hosted by Queer Student Union in honor of National Coming Out Week, will include coming out stories as well as a question-and-answer portion. A rally will be held Thursday, Oct. 8 at noon at the Bell Tower for members of the Temple LGBTQ community and their heterosexual allies.
To learn more, check out our coverage of Coming Out Week and LGBTQ issues in News and Living.
Students should do their part in making sure Temple doesn’t have to face the kind of bigotry that Guilford College endured.
8. Arizona Daily Wildcat, October 5, 2009
615 N. Park Ave, Tucson AZ 85719
Lutherans split over gay clergy
By Michelle Monroe
A vote to allow gay pastors to preach in member churches has led some congregations to consider leaving the largest body of Lutherans in the United States.
On Aug. 21, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted 676-338 — a two-thirds majority — to adopt a social statement regarding homosexuals, “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust.” The statement describes the group’s stance on same-gender relationships and homosexuals as members of the church’s clergy, said Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop.
Individual congregations may choose to recognize lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships, and can accept homosexuals as registered leaders in the church, said Ron Rude, campus pastor for the ELCA at the UA.
“ELCA congregations who believe God is calling them to welcome gay and lesbian couples, individuals and their families into fullness of life and fullness of ministry, are no longer barred from doing so,” Rude said. “ELCA congregations who believe God is calling them to refrain from welcoming gay and lesbian couples, individuals and their families into fullness of life and fullness of ministry, can continue to minister in this manner.”
This stance has caused a significant rift in the ELCA’s congregations, officials say.
The Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz. — the 10th largest congregation of ELCA Lutherans in America — voted in July to end their affiliation with the ELCA after rumors spread that the ELCA would allow homosexual affirmation.
“They’ve always been a congregation that was kind of on the edge in terms of the denomination,” Rude said of the Glendale church. “They felt they could not be part of a denomination that had within it congregations that welcomed gay people to fullness of life and fullness of ministry — they felt that was going against God, against Jesus.”
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is the second largest body of Lutherans in America — with approximately 2.5 million members — and is also represented on the UA campus. The group has a much different viewpoint, said Ian Pacey, campus pastor for the Missouri Synod.
“The Missouri (Synod) is more of the traditional Christian church body and the ELCA has been the more progressive body,” Pacey said.
The differences stem from biblical interpretation and defining terms, Rude said.
“There’s been terminology between orientation and behavior,” he said. “So some people would say being gay is not a sin but finding someone to love and share your life with, that’s a sin.”
The Missouri Synod believes that since homosexuality is defined as a sin in the Bible, it cannot be redefined by any governing body, Pacey said.
“Essentially the position we hold to is — the catch phrase they use is — ‘that which has been declared sin cannot be declared or voted out as sin,’” Pacey said. “When it comes to sexuality, we think of it as it’s taught in the scriptures.”
Until August, the official ELCA stance on homosexuality was less liberal.
The group is split roughly in half, Rude said, with some saying they support homosexual relationships and others who say they support gay individuals but not their relationships.
“We’re divided as a church,” he said.
The question is more clear-cut for Pacey, who said the recent liberal position adopted by the ELCA is unacceptable because it cannot be upheld by scripture.
“I’m being perfectly blunt. There’s a little bit of arrogance going on here,” he said. “Most Christians in the world do not hold to this position. Most Lutherans in the world do not hold to this position of allowing active homosexuals to serve as clergy or marriage and so on and so forth,” Pacey said.
The recent vote shows just the opposite, Rude said.
Nevertheless, ELCA officials say they hope this statement will not shut down ongoing discussions about delicate issues with other religious groups.
“Now — perhaps more than ever — we need to stay engaged with one another,” Hanson said.
9. Daily 49er (California State University-Long Beach), October 5, 2009
1250 Bellflower Boulevard, SSPA 004B, Long Beach, CA, 90840-4601
Experiences for LGBT faculty, staff vary in state
By Cristina Canchola
A panel of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender staff and faculty discussed their experiences of being openly gay at “Out on Campus,” the kickoff event of National Coming Out Week yesterday in the University Student Union.
Nancy Matthews, a Cal State Long Beach professor in the recreation and leisure studies department, discussed what her expectations of the West Coast were before leaving the East Coast to attend Scripps College.
“I thought I was coming to a mecca of liberal identity,” Matthews said.
Once on campus, Matthews noted that the atmosphere of the college was not a liberal one, but one constructed out of social class and traditional gender roles.
Dissatisfied with how she did not fit in the campus environment, Matthews decided to become active on campus. Within three months of arriving at Scripps College, she became the student body president.
“We can create the environment we want,” Matthews said.
Stacey Peyer, a consultant in the social work department, discussed how she had to hide her sexuality when she applied for her first job after graduating with Los Angeles County Department of Probation — a change from being openly gay while attending the University of Southern California.
“Ahead of time I asked what [my sexuality] would mean to my job, and I didn’t get a safe answer,” Peyer said. “So I lied.”
After getting hired, Peyer eventually came out to her co-workers, and keeping her sexuality under wraps was no longer an issue.
“There are enough places in this world where sexual orientation doesn’t matter,” Peyer said.
Henry Fradella, the criminal justice department chair, talked about how he did not discuss his sexuality as a professor in New Jersey.
“I didn’t have to hide [my sexuality], or be honest about it,” Fradella said.
Fradella finally came out when he was asked to speak at a candlelight vigil for Matthew Sheppard, a gay man who was beaten and killed because of his sexuality.
Fradella’s co-workers were less than accepting.
“They went from, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ on a Monday to not talking to me for seven years on a Wednesday,” Fradella said.
When he moved to teach at CSULB, he was excited about the welcoming environment but it did not make things automatically easy.
“Working in a supportive environment doesn’t come without challenges,” Fradella said.
Michael Dumas, a professor in the advanced studies department in education and counseling, talked about how he got into a field where his sexuality was not in the forefront of things but still allowed him to do research on gay rights.
Dumas agreed with Fradella that CSULB has an “open climate” on campus, but the openness comes with a price of high-living costs.
“California has more rights [for homosexuals] than other states, but it doesn’t come without a price,” Fradella said.
The panel concluded with questions from audience members.
One student asked the panel if he should disclose his sexuality on his personal statement for graduate school applications.
“Know where you’re applying and reveal [your sexuality] if it is relevant,” Peyer said.
Another student asked how she could further the advancement of gay rights.
“Get out there and be an activist for your rights,” Fradella said.
10. The Salt Lake Tribune, October 7, 2009
90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
U. of U. forum: Gay service members say 'Don't Ask' asks too much
By Matthew D. LaPlante
Sarah Hjalmarson has grown adept at what she calls "the pronoun game."
In deference to the military's 16-year-old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which bans gay members from discussing their sexual orientation while serving, the Army medic and Afghanistan war veteran has done her best to dodge questions about her lesbian partner.
"I'd never refer to her as 'her' -- it was always, 'my fiance' -- never really denying but never totally lying," Hjalmarson said.
But the University of Utah senior is tired of pretending.
Hjalmarson was one of four veterans who spoke about the Pentagon's policy at a Wednesday forum at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics. Afterwards, the 27-year-old said she recognizes that public affirmation of her sexual orientation could cause trouble for her if she's called back into service, as many medics in the Army's Individual Ready Reserve have been in recent years. And that could trigger an other-than-honorable discharge and loss of her educational benefits.
But Hjalmarson said she has been inspired by Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran who is being processed for discharge after coming out of the closet on national television. Choi, who also sat on the Hinckley panel, has called on other West Pointers to come out, as well.
"Listening to him speak has really prepared me for this," Hjalmarson said.
Choi and Hjalmarson were joined on the panel by actor and gay rights activist Jeff Key, who served in the Iraq War, and Utah Pride Center Director Valerie Larabee, a former Air Force officer.
The policy was thought by some to be a bridge to open the service for gay members when it began under then-President Bill Clinton. But all the panel members agreed it instead forces them to serve in silence and has resulted in the loss of valuable military talent at a time of war. Choi, for instance, was an Arabic linguist.
Moderator Ken Verdonia, of KUED-TV, said representatives of the military declined to participate in the forum.
But one supporter of the policy summarized the opposition to lifting the ban while debating Choi during a taping of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Tuesday night. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness -- which also opposes the use of women soldiers in combat -- said lifting the ban "would be tantamount to saying that military men would be living with military women constantly with little or no privacy in conditions that the law describes as 'forced intimacy.' "
Choi scoffed at that contention on CNN -- complaining that Donnelly was confusing gender and sexual orientation -- and fellow panelists seconded that notion Wednesday.
Key said the Marines he served with knew he was gay and didn't care, so long as he was fighting alongside them. (One former comrade told The Salt Lake Tribune in 2008 that Key was "an outstanding Marine. He pulled his own weight. That was the bottom line.")
Hjalmarson joked that even though she kept her sexual orientation to herself, most people knew. "I mean, look at me," the short, spiky-haired woman laughed, gesturing at her khaki pants and men's style, striped collared shirt. "Everybody knew. They assumed -- but they assumed correctly."
And when they came to her for medical care in Afghanistan, Hjalmarson said, it didn't matter.
11. Seattle University Spectator, October 7, 2009
Referendum 71 needs Seattle U support
By Katie Farden
Less than a year ago, a number of Seattle University students flooded East Pine Street, joining thousands of Seattle community members en route to Westlake Center to protest Proposition 8. Rallying against the law that made same-sex marriage illegal in California, their voices joined a choir of activists and allies.
"Gay, straight, black, white, we all need equal rights,” rang out in the streets.
Now it’s time for Seattle U to march to the polls and approve Referendum 71.
Voicing support for R-71—a measure on the November ballot that would affirm the rights and responsibilities of Washington state same-sex couples in domestic partnerships—might be the most important political statement we make this fall.
The legislation will reaffirm the expansion of domestic partnership rights already outlined in the state’s domestic partnership legislation, SB 5688.
Gov. Christine Gregoire signed SB 5688 into law May 18 after it was approved by the state Legislature.
Referendum 71 will not only buttress the gains in equality SB 5688 brought our state, it will help ensure all Washington couples receive equitable state benefits: Referendum 71 grants couples in domestic partnerships—including unmarried heterosexual couples older than 62—public-employee pensions, basic family legal rights and survivor benefits.
It will also likely facilitate the passage of same-sex marriage in Washington.
To be sure, not every Seattle U student wants to legalize same-sex marriage. Not every student supports homosexuality.
But we are all part of a community with many queer members.
In a recent survey of Seattle U students, it was found that 9.1 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
And Seattle U’s Office of Multicultural Affairs houses a rich array of non-heteronormative groups including Triangle Club, the Trans and Allies club and Empower.
Our school and our state need our vote on Referendum 71.
Washington state is home to more than 12,000 people who are registered in domestic partnerships.
Living in Capitol Hill—a neighborhood where bars and restaurants tout rainbow flags and post “homophobia-free zone” signs—it might be easy to think Referendum 71 will pass with ease.
Voter sentiment across the state, however, suggests Referendum 71 is hardly in the bag.
A poll in late September conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research revealed 51 percent of Washington voters supported Referendum 71, 44 percent would reject it and 5 percent were still on the fence.
Last year, we marched and hollered for equality in California. This year we need to check “approve” for equality at home.
Katie can be reached at email@example.com
12. The Hoya (Georgetown), October 6, 2009
LGBTQ Group Seeks Recognition at Catholic University of America
By Lee Stromberg
A year after Georgetown responded to two alleged hate crimes against students by opening the LGBTQ Resource Center — the first of its kind at a U.S. Jesuit institution — a group for LGBTQ students and allies at The Catholic University of America is struggling to attain recognition from the administration.
CUAllies, a group offering support and advocacy for Catholic University’s LGBTQ community, was denied official organization status in early August, according to a CUAllies press release. The university claimed that an adequate support structure for LGBTQ students already existed on campus.
Representatives of CUAllies said official status would do much for the LGBTQ community on Catholic University’s campus.
“If recognized by the university, [the organization] would be able to provide a publicized, safe place for GLBTQ students on campus. [We] would also be able to receive funding from the university, meet on campus and publicize on campus,” said Kelly Wilson, a graduate student at Catholic University, and Robby Diesu, a senior, on behalf of the group in an e-mail.
Wilson and Diesu said CUAllies hopes that the recognition of the group will provide a safer and more tolerant atmosphere for the university’s LGBTQ community.
“[We] actively reach out to GLBTQ students and their straight allies so that these students know [who] the safe people are on campus. Prior to CUAllies, many GLBTQ students needed to tiptoe around in order to find out who are the safe students, staff and faculty. By creating a community, we are a visible resource for students who need a safe place,” Wilson and Diesu said.
In spite of the administration’s failure to recognize CUAllies, the group has been successful as an unofficial organization.
“We’ve had an amazing student response from the GLBTQ community and student allies,” said Lauren Crook, a senior at Catholic University and a member of CUAllies.
Crook said CUAllies regularly attracts about 40 students to its meetings. “We’re one of the largest active student groups. … We’ve been getting a really positive response.”
“We … create an open and confidential atmosphere at our weekly meetings so students know they can come and discuss GLBTQ issues without being judged or gossiped about. We are also educating the community about hate crimes and making sure that hate crimes directed toward GLBTQ students are being referred to the proper systems of support on campus,” Wilson and Diesu said. “The goal of all of this is to create a safe and welcoming environment where GLBTQ students do not have to return to the closet in order to feel safe and be accepted at [Catholic University].”
Wilson and Diesu said CUAllies e-mails 175 university officials and members of the campus ministry every Wednesday with one personal account to represent conditions for LGBTQ students at Catholic University.
David Freerksen, a junior at Catholic University and a member of CUAllies, said the problem with the university has not been outright disapproval, but indifference.
“From the group’s perspective, we wouldn’t describe [the university’s position] as hostile, but we would say it’s been at best apathetic,” Freerksen said. “The university doesn’t seem concerned with the safety of students.”
CUAllies plans to act as though recognized by the university until it actually is, representatives of the group said.
The presence of the LGBTQ community at Georgetown was strengthened when the LGBTQ Resource Center, opened in August 2008. The center and GU Pride, the primary LGBTQ student group at Georgetown, serve a similar purpose as CUAllies.
“The LGBTQ Resource Center has been here for just over a year; and we have worked very hard with the entire campus community at all levels for a better Hilltop experience for all our students,” said Shiva Subbaraman, director of the LGBTQ Resource Center.
13. The Concordian, October 8, 2009
FPO 104, 901 8th St S, Moorhead, Minnesota 56562
SAGA is going to fight for its right to advertise
By Jessica Ballou
In the past, the Straight and Gay Alliance on campus has not been allowed to advertise for events or to recruit more members for their group, due to a promotions policy on campus which does not allow advertising for “sexual orientation-related counseling, activities, or services.” But now, they are finally able to advocate for their club.
President of SAGA, Jacob Villaverde, said he believes the current policy is poorly worded and the phrasing would ultimately mean SAGA could not exist as a group on campus.
The group took part in the Cobber Expo and has held meetings and activities such as National Coming Out Day, the Midwest Bi-sexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference in the first weekend of spring break and a Day of Silence on campus.
“What we are trying to accomplish is the ridding of the poorly-written policy so it does not remain an omnipresent anchor, hindering our capacity to do good at Concordia,” Villaverde said.
Braden Carkhuff, treasurer for SAGA, said the college is fully aware of their mission as a club, so advertising on campus shouldn’t be a huge problem.
“We’re not claiming to be counseling in any way, shape or form,” Carkhuff said. “The mission is to create awareness and that’s what the Feminist Majority does; they create awareness. PACODES also creates awareness. We just have a little more of a hot topic issue.”
Sophomore Raquel Martin said she thinks it’s great that SAGA can advertise on campus now.
“People who don’t like it can choose not to participate, just like every other Concordia club or organization,” she said. “I think since gay marriage and rights have been such a controversial issue, and since Concordia is a religious college, [the school] has been afraid that advertising such a group could make it seem like Concordia fully agrees with the group when the administrators might not all agree in supporting it.”
Villaverde said they plan to continue advertising their activities as a student organization and to continue following common sense and ethical principles, not advertising for things they are not fully apt to do (such as counseling, and any other services which SAGA isn’t qualified to promote).
SAGA, previously known as TPS, PFlag, and other names, has been around for decades, Villaverde said.
“I feel that such groups on campus have been and continue to be passively limited by the college in terms of being active and public supporters, albeit through sponsorship, either monetarily or just by affiliation, or via prioritization of institutionalizing such programs as Safe Space or others that promote respect for and celebration of diversity,” he said.
Villaverde said discussions are being held which deal with such issues as diversity on campus, and his only aspiration for these discussions “would be for them to translate into action in the immediate future.”
Ross Dankers, from the Concordia Conservatives group on campus, said he can understand how an ELCA college might want to stray away from the promotion of sexual orientation because of their stance in the past on sexuality.
“In contrast, now that the ELCA has endorsed leaders in the church that are proclaimed to be homosexual,” he said, “I feel that the college doesn’t have the grounds to suppress this group due to its own value changes within the church.”
Martin said she is glad the college is no longer discriminating, and that this ability for SAGA to advertise will hopefully make it easier for people who support them or want to be in it to join.
“Discrimination in any form is wrong,” she said. “We’re in college now. We should be able to respect different beliefs and viewpoints.”
Carkhuff said he feels hopeful that they’ll be able to promote events for the club, which is a big deal for any campus group.
“We need to promote events so we can fundraise and create the awareness that we want to,” he said. “We can’t do that if we’re just a group of 20 students or so just sitting in a room discussing things. We need to put a face to this group, community, culture, people. We need to get out there and be seen.”
14. The Smith College Sophian, October 8, 2009
Capen Annex, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063
Transgender coeducation: Smith is more than just a women's college
By Alexandra Bregman
Smith is not a women's college. The confines of the gender binary are constantly blurred and redefined, as we educate one another on pronoun usage, testosterone injections and the day-to-day tribulations of what it means to be in transition. The transsexual, transgender and gender queer populations of Smith College are valid and flourishing, whether they make it onto the "I Am Smith" Web page or not. In an age where single-sex education is a niche market and a deep source of pride at Smith College, the transient population and all forms of masculinity on campus simply must be addressed.
To be questioning gender at Smith is dually more and less difficult than at other educational institutions. On the one hand, Smith will always be reputed as a prestigious women's college. A female-to-male transgender student - F to M, also called M to M to avoid association with feminine traits altogether - will always have to deal with a well-known women's college on his transcript and the questions and judgments that inevitably follow. No matter how accepting, transgendered students fear that peers and potential employers will treat them differently.
On the other hand, the merits of Smith for a transgender person are equally noteworthy. Any student may choose Smith for its great resources; the list is endless. While gender definitely affects the admission rate, this does not necessarily affect the student selection process. Being legally female, why not choose Smith?
Furthermore, all students come to Smith not knowing what the future holds. It's more than likely that an F to M candidate stumbled upon his, her, hir or ze path to self-discovery by joining the ranks of Smith's LGBTQ (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transsexual/Transgender-Queer) community. We're all here to discover our futures. If the future holds another name, pronoun or gender, why should that be a problem?
Unfortunately, gender realization is often difficult on campus. Students can be uncomfortable, and the question of transferring often comes up. A fellow student recounted the tribulations of not transferring. While he loves his ties to Smith, everything from the classroom situation to the bathroom to his on-campus job proves potentially awkward. The constant questions, most often, "Are you a Five College student?" can be exhausting.
Yet this student also fears that a transfer to the University of Massachusetts could be both physically and socially dangerous, especially in light of the recent abuse at Hampshire College.
According to circulating speculative blogs and e-mails, a transwoman of color was seeking refuge at Hampshire College on Sept. 24 when the Five College Public Safety entered her host's mod, victimized her and took her to jail for trespassing. Then she was taken to the Amherst police station, where she was allegedly more aggressively sexually violated, and detained after her friends had paid bail. I am consistently shocked and saddened by challenges Trans college students face, because it really seems that there is nowhere to turn.
The more I learn about the gender spectrum, the less I understand about the hatred and misconceptions. Girl is born. Girl feels like a boy. Girl becomes boy with the aid of surgery and hormone therapy. What's not to get? How could this country, which has actively refuted racism and sexism for hundreds of years, hold hormonal transitions against everyday people? Choosing gender should be an accepted right and rite if necessary. The gray areas continue to puzzle me.
Luckily, Smith has great resources. PRISM, Smith College organization for LGBTQ people of color, and SSJIC (Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change) have been promoting the Queers and Allies working group. It meets at the Resource Center for Sexuality and Gender office, located in the basement of Wesley House. The umbrella organization kicked Coke off campus, and now is working in tangent with Smith's queer community.
Though these are great helps to all in need at Smith, I still can't help but worry. It's trying times like these when I feel grateful to have been born in the right body. I'm thankful that as a heterosexual female, neither I nor a critical society questions my gender and sexuality choices so harshly. Yet for all my good luck to mesh well with the heterosexual world, I just hope that everyone in the Smith College community can do more than just find a place. I hope that we won't have to worry where that place will be.
15. The Daily Athenaeum, October 4, 2009
Student group preps for Gay Pride Week
By Melanie Hoffman
West Virginia University’s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Mountaineers is preparing for its annual Gay Pride Week, Oct. 12 through Oct. 16.
Pride Week is a series of events promoting the visibility and awareness of BGLT issues to the WVU community, according to BiGLTM Vice President Mandi Roberts.
"And to encourage others to be proud of who they are and not afraid because they aren’t the only ones," she said.
Pride Week has been an event since the early 1990s, Roberts said.
The program costs approximately $1,000. BiGLTM asked for a $500 grant from WVU’s Student Government Association to help curb the costs of the events, which are meant to appeal to a wide variety of WVU students, faculty and staff. WVU’s Office of Multicultural Programs will also donate between $200 and $300 for promotional material.
Unlike in years past, Pride Week will be held in the fall instead of the spring.
"Last year I was in charge of it," Roberts said. "The energy was gone, the funds were gone, it was almost impossible to do."
Monday, Oct. 12, will kick off the event as WVU Coming Out Day/Blue Jeans Day.
An information booth will be set up in the Mountainlair about National Coming Out Day and the coming out process. Anna Hawkins, a clinical director at WVU’s Carruth Center, will also speak about the coming out process at 6 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair. A panel discussion featuring coming out stories from BiGLTM and community members will follow.
The group encourages people to show support for those coming out that day by wearing blue jeans.
Beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, is Pie in the Face of Intolerance Day. The group is allowing all WVU community members to throw a pie at volunteers for a small donation.
At 8:30 p.m. in the Blue Moose Cafe, Rev. Kris Haig, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church, will discuss contemporary Biblical interpretations on sexuality issues and what the New Testament says about sexual identity. An audience question and answer will follow. BiGLTM will provide a free beverage for those attending.
Wednesday, Oct. 14, mock ceremonies in which WVU students will "marry" to protest the rights, privileges and responsibilities that same-sex couples are denied will occur in the Mountainlair Free Speech Zone.
Stephen Skinner, chairman of the Fairness WV board, will give a presentation on the current state of LGBT legal equality in West Virginia at 7 p.m. in the Mountainlair’s Greenbrier Room.
BiGLTM, together with WVU’s Office of Multicultural Programs, will present a brown bag lunch and film discussion on "Prayers for Bobby" at 12:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair’s Gluck Theatre.
Five WVU faculty members will be featured at 7 p.m. in the Greenbrier Room of the Mountainlair discussing several topics dealing with the LGBT community.
The panelists include Scott Crichlow, associate professor, Dept. of Political Science; Daniel Ferreras, associate professor, Dept. of Foreign Languages; Adam Komisaruk, associate professor, Dept. of English; Nina Spadaro, lecturer, WVU Honors College; and Melissa Chesanko, graduate teaching assistant, Dept. of Women’s Studies.
At 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, BiGLTM will host a fundraiser at Vice Versa, an alternative dance club in Morgantown. Group members will distribute informational pamphlets, flyers and other free items, and will also be collecting donations.
A booth will also be set up in the Mountainlair all day.
16. StateCollege.com, October 6, 2009
Lazerpro Digital Media Group, 220 Regent Court, Suite B, State College, PA 16801
National Coming Out Week underway at Penn State
By Julia March
The LGBTA kicked off National Coming Out Week 2009 with a “HUB Takeover” mid-day Monday.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & Allies (LGBTA) Organization has been a part of the Penn State campus for 15 years.
The group prides itself on working “to create and maintain an open, safe and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, staff, and faculty at The Pennsylvania State University.”
"Our goal is to create awareness. We just want students who are gay or lesbians or who may be confused about their sexual orientation to know that we are here," said Penn State student and LGBTA member Amanda Peppaceno.
The message was delivered this morning as LGBTA members passed out fliers beneath a huge arch of rainbow balloons that filled the HUB lobby. Underneath of the arch were two tables lined with brochures of the different committees that fall under the LGBTA umbrella, including SpeakOut, Undertones, Axis, oSTEM (Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), L-PRIDE, Rainbow Roundtable, and Delta Lambda Phi.
Also at the LGBTA booth was an Ally Pledge Sign-up. Any student that is an advocate of the LGBT community was asked to sign their name in marker on a giant scroll of paper.
“It’s important because it shows support. Knowing that you have people behind you is an amazing feeling," Peppaceno said.
Support is a key aspect not only within the LGBTA community but also from State College as a whole, members believe.
Penn State sophomore Julian Haas is currently a student intern for LGBTA and continuously is looking for new ways to bring the community together. Already this year he has contributed to ideas for a community forum which would be a place to talk openly about a specific LGBTA topic.
“I saw a place where I could make a difference. I am working for something I truly believe in and it really is amazing to see all your hard work pay off," he said.
The HUB Takeover was the first of eight events scheduled to occur on campus during National Coming Out Week. Other events happening are:
-Take the Ally Pledge - Tuesday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the HUB
-LGBTA Student Alliance Rally – Wednesday, noon at Old Main
-Keynote Performance: How Do I Look? – Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at the HUB
-Axis Social – Wednesday, 9 p.m. at Webster’s downtown
-Undertones Student Drag Show – 10 p.m. at HUB Alumni Hall
17. The Hawk (St. Joseph’s University), October 7, 2009
227A Campion Student Center, 5600 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
GLBT issues ignored too often at St. Joe's
By Hawk Staff
You can't always see diversity.
As a college campus that struggles with a certain degree of homogeneity, Saint Joseph's University has committed itself to dealing with the issues that affect the more visible minorities on campus-racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc.
A significant percentage of St. Joe's students belong to an invisible minority, however, and are often overlooked when it comes to university efforts to eradicate discrimination. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons (GLBT) at St. Joe's aren't a clearly distinguishable group. Perhaps that's why it's been so easy for so many students and administrators to ignore the hostility that's often shown toward the GLBT community. Out of sight, out of mind tends to lead to little action.
In recent months, students at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., attempted to create an organization on campus that provided a safe space for GLBT students. By their own account, these students met with resistance from administrators and board members who claimed that there were already structures and resources in place at the college that addressed GLBT issues. Students countered that gay bashing and homophobia were prevalent concerns for GLBT students at Catholic University, and that the administration was ineffective in dealing with these incidents and issues. The students eventually created a group that did not include any direct references to homosexuality in its name: CUAllies.
Catholic University's struggle to define the role of a private college in regulating or promoting an accepting atmosphere for diversity on campus is a familiar one at St. Joe's. Despite the efforts of many students and faculty, homophobia and discrimination against GLBT students and faculty remains a serious and often unaddressed issue at Saint Joseph's University.
While Unity Week and the periodic guest speaker succeed in addressing GLBT and diversity issues, the university struggles in keeping these issues at the forefront during the rest of the academic year. Though many student leaders have gone through diversity training during the spring and summer, many students on campus are not aware of the issues surrounding the gay community at St. Joe's. When it comes to homosexuality, the overall atmosphere on campus is extremely negative.
St. Joe's own Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) used to be called Students for Openness Tolerance and Pride (STOP). The university was slow to approve a name change for the student group, though the group was finally able to change its name officially last year.
A similar story played out for Rainbow Week, the predecessor to Unity Week. When controversy started about Saint Joseph's, a Catholic university, hosting an event that featured GLBT issues, St. Joe's administrators changed the name to "Unity Week."
St. Joe's needs to bring GLBT issues to the forefront of campus consciousness. Though guest speakers are effective ways to bring new perspectives to the university, they often only reach an already interested target group. To reach every student and make them aware of the issues that are often associated with being GLBT at this university, more extensive education programs should be implemented, both in and out of the classroom.
Freshman orientation provides a good opportunity for St. Joe's to show the incoming class that our campus values aim to be inclusive, rather than judgmental. Creating engaging, interactive presentations that provide opportunities for administrators, faculty, and students to discuss difficult issues is one way to raise awareness on campus. Including GLBT issues in General Education Program curriculum would also allow conversations to reach everyone on campus, rather than the individuals already involved.
While the name of a particular organization or campus event may not seem consequential, it is. By not allowing explicit references to homosexuality or the GLBT community, Catholic University (and St. Joe's) is excluding a substantial portion of the population from equality and recognition. The censorship of group events and titles is just another way to reinforce intolerant structures at place within society.
The acknowledgment by St. Joe's of the Gay Straight Alliance after years of being denied equal expression, is a step in the right direction. But it's only the first of many steps needed for the university to become a truly welcoming community.
18. The Good 5 Cent Cigar (URI), October 8, 2009
125 Memorial Union, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston, RI 02881
URI Theatre honors memory of gay student
By Noelle Myers
Along with more than 100 other theatres in the nation, the University of Rhode Island theatre department is premiering "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later," in memory of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student victim of a gay hate crime, on Monday October 12.
The incident occurred on Oct. 6, 1998 when Shepard left the Fireside Bar with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, and the following day he was found tied to a fence, brutally beaten and close to death. On Oct. 12 Shepard was pronounced dead at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Five weeks after the incident, members of the Tectonic Theatre Project interviewed citizens from Laramie, Shepard's hometown, about the tragedy. From these interviews "The Laramie Project," was produced in the form of a docudrama, or a drama based on historical events dealing with a controversial nature.
This past June the Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie, Wyoming, where Shepard was murdered, to discover the changes in the town since Shepard's death. According to the Lincoln Center Web site, the epilogue will be focused on the long-term affects of the town and the murder. Follow-up interviews with the Laramie residents were also conducted for the new script.
From these interviews, writers and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project Moises Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber composed the script for "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later."
The URI premier at the Fine Arts Center, will simultaneously be shown in New York at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and in more than 100 other theatres in all 50 states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong and Australia.
Actors and actresses of the Rhode Island Company will perform this epilogue for students and the public free of charge. Director of the performance, and Associate Professor of the URI theatre department, Bryna Wortman said donations are encouraged and will benefit the URI Chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Center.
Wortman also directed the 2002 premier of "The Laramie Project," and three of the actors in this particular performance, Tom Hurdle, Brad Kirton, 2005 URI theatre graduate and Cait Calvo will also act in this year's premier. Two other URI theatre graduates, Rudy Sanda and Myke Wilkinson will also act in the epilogue.
Wortman said the 12 actors of the Rhode Island Company would have two or more roles in the stage reading. There are approximately 60 characters portrayed in the performance.
New interviews with Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard and with Mathew's murderer Aaron McKinnley will be included in the play. Mckinnley is currently serving two consecutive life sentences for the hate crime. Also included in this new performance are follow-up interviews from the original performance.
Wortman discussed the 2002 performance and said, "The responses were very immediate." This was because it was right after the trial, she added.
"Davis Shepard, [Matthew's father] said something to the effect of, there's been a lot of change, but not much progress," Wortman said.
Wortman believes diversity is important and is excited to "[be] part of a worldwide situation."
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